Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 3 Feb 2013.
Catholic ethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filippini struck a blow for freedom of speech this week in an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald, arguing that the legal enforcement of “polite conduct” is excessive and intrusive. He said:
In a polite society, that one might cause offence is a reason why one might adjust one’s words so as to at least acknowledge the feelings of those who might be offended or to mitigate or avoid the possibility of causing offence, but this should not be a matter for the law and the creation of legal offences. There does need to be the possibility of robust discussion and debate in which propositions can be tested for their veracity, balance, relevance and appropriateness. No one should feel constrained by risk of legal sanction for seeking to express an opinion, merely because someone else might find that opinion offensive.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.